08 August 2006

Blue Mountains ... the day it rained out ...

* Alright people. Moz's evil lawyers advised Moz to put the following disclaimer - this blog is full of pictures and will slow down your download time enough t0 make you go crazy. If you have a slow Internet access, a bad standing with TMNet Streamyx or life in a civilization where only dialup access exist, please, go elsewhere ...*

For a hiking person like me, it's quite hard to resist the temptation of Blue Mountains when I was just a little more than 100 kms away in Sydney. While I knew next to nothing about the place, it had been one of those places that have always had this allure, a strange gravity pulling me towards it.

Moz at sublime point, waiting patiently for the fog to lift ...

So, when I got approval to rent a car for the weekend, and when I had Darren helping me work out the itenary and gave me maps, directions, local knowledge that poor tourists in shuttle buses just wouldn't get, there was no way in the world I'd miss it.

So, last Saturday, I turned up at the ungodly hour, 8 am, to pick up my rental car. And after 30 minutes of being hopelessly lost in Sydney CBD's one way street maze, I manage to find myself on the Great Western Highway towards the Blue Mountains.

Some info - Blue Mountains area is actually considered part of the greater Sydney metro area. You'll see signs all over the place that says West Sydney this, West Sydney that ... so while it's around 100km from central Sydney, it's still part of Sydney. We have people in the office who stay in Blue Mountains and commute to work.

Having an icecream in Blue Mountains (overlooking Jamieson Lookout at Wentworth Falls) while shivering in cold is part of the Blue Mountains experience.

So ... up I went. Weather forecast was gloomy. All week long, the weather forecast was like "Rain over the weekends, with strong South-South Westerly winds" ... which spelt doom for me. If rain isn't bad enough, south-south westerly winds really means COLD wind coming from Antartica. Brrrrrr.... C.O.L.D.

One of the many hiking "bush walking" trails criss crossing the Blue Mountains. It was absolutely easy to hike there .... lovely.

When I was up at Glenbrook, the first town in Blue Mountains, the weather was supreme - no clouds, clear blue skies in typical Aussie style - I was saying to myself that there's no rain .... what rain?

The empty, foggy, parking lot at Wentworth Falls welcomed me to Blue Mountains. It was around 10 in the morning when I took this picture.

And I spoke too soon ... 10 minutes later, the clouds rolled in, the rain came down ... and by the time I got to my first attraction, at Wentworth Falls, there's a little drizzle ... I can't see a damn thing !!! NOTHING. Just whiteout !!!

At Wentworth Falls, the fog lifted every once in a while to tantalize me with a magnificent view of the valleys down below.

Severely depressed, and feeling really cold ... I walked to 2 of the lookouts there - which was supposed to have great views of the Blue Mountains and also a waterfall - like the place is called Wentworth Falls, right? So I just listened to the sound of falling water, and took it that the falls is there after all.

This particular view at Sublime Point near Leura reminded me of the views in Nortern China.

Then, it was off to Leura, a quaint village where I drove around to Sublime Point, which is supposed to have absolutely great views. I nearly died when I got there and it was all fooggy as well ... but this guy with a prostetic leg came around and told me that I had to be patient and wait for the winds to change .... and the view will be better. So I did ... and was totally rewarded ... it was sooooooOOOOOOOOOOooooo beautiful.

Ah ... finally ... the fog lifted enough to reveal ... Wentworth Falls !!! Lovely ... so I don't have to just be satisfied listening to the waterfall ... I have something to look at !!! That's a waterfall about 300 meters deep

Then, I understood it better, and drove back to Wentworth Falls to get the view. As usual, I waited, and hit gold ... it's so cool.

You can see the 3 sisters from Sublime Point in Leura ... and it was much nicer looking at it from here because Echo Point (where you normally go to see the 3 sisters), is normally saturated with tourists.

From there, it was a short drive along the famous Cliff Drive (also called Blue Mountain Highway - Route 5), which took me to the famous Echo Point.

The Blue Mountains Highway aka Cliff Drive, is peppered with sights like waterfalls and little cascades. If you care enough to stop and enjoy it, you'll have plenty to see and enjoy.

Echo Point is where the 3 Sisters are located ... so like other tourists I just snapped away. But light wasn't very good, and there's still plenty of fog.

Ah ... finally, Echo Point in Katoomba. More about it in the next blog ...

** Next post will talk about what I did at Scenic World and the night scene in Katoomba **


Amelia said...

WOW! WOW! WOW! I wish I am there now. I love the cold.

Ice-cream looks yummy!

Great pixs, Moz. Thanx for sharing.
Looking forward to your next post. :p

Inevitable said...

The Cliff Drive is postcard worthy man...

pelf said...

I wanna go! I wanna go! I wanna go! *sob*

angel said...

As usual...
*stares @ the liuliu aiskrim*

I could feel the brrrrrr...

psst psst... everywhere also look kinda 'lonely'... not sked?
*smacks forehead*
ohhh... i forgot... liu are (superduper)man... :P

moz monster said...

amelia: I prefer cooler weather to Malaysia's but if I had to live the Blue Mountain weather that day, everyday, I'd be numb from cold. Really.

It's a chocolate coated vanilla ice cream I got from a street vendor at Wentworth Falls.

inevitable: Yes, Cliff Drive is great, but still a bit inland - can't always see the mountain valleys. Wait for the blog on Prince Henry Clifftop Walk !!

pelf: You'll get your turn one of these days ... don't worry ...

angeliu: It's not *that* lonely, really. Blue Mountain is a major tourist haunt, and while the weather that day might have driven some folks off, there were still plenty of people - not too many, but never few enough to make one think they're in the middle of nowhere la ... and no place is really safe from the invasion of the uncouth mainland Chinese tourist nowadays anyways ...

Che-Cheh said...

Ahh beautiful. I think my spirit just flew there, enjoy the scenery and come back to the office..hahaha

moz monster said...

che-cheh: Yeah ... how you wished you were staying in Sydney, right? It's a short 1 hours by car away ... a reason to go every weekend ...